Late last week multiple sports outlets reported that Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will not show up to camp without a new contract. In addition, if they can not come to a deal, Gordon is demanding a trade. Gordons’ agent, Fletcher Smith, told the media that he and his client are dug in on the matter. Reportedly, there has been no progress in negotiations which spurred them to take this drastic action.
Gordon is in is option year, set to make $5.6 million dollars. Given his production since being drafted in 2015, he has transformed into a top-5 running back in the NFL. Last season, he ranked fifth in yards from scrimmage. Over the last three seasons, he’s only second to Todd Gurley in carries with 1,079 and third in the league in touchdowns (38) and yards from scrimmage (5,205) over the last four seasons. Undoubtedly contributing to their decision making process are the recent long-term extensions given to fellow running back contemporaries Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (4-yrs, $60 million, with $45 million dollars guaranteed), Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (3-yrs, $39 million with $30 million dollars guaranteed) and Le’veon Bell (4-yrs, $52.5 million with $25 million dollars guaranteed). All three threatened to sit out until they got a new deal and only Bell actually sat out a season.
To holdout now will be the greatest leverage he has to use. The Chargers are coming off a 12-4 season highlighted (and lowlighted) by a trip into the AFC Divisional Round against the eventual Super Bowl champions, New England. The window of opportunity for Philip Rivers and company is now and Gordon is a big piece of the pie in that equation. At 26, this is the best time for Gordon to holdout. His value is at its peak, this is the moment of greatest need for his team with the Chargers ascending to championship contender status and he has proven himself to be a durable, reliable, elite dual-threat running back.
The only reason Bell didn’t succeed in getting paid with the Pittsburgh Steelers is because he waited until after he had been franchised twice. Bell and Gurley got their deals before the team had that control in their hands. The Chargers have the same leverage inasmuch that they can franchise tag Gordon for up to two more seasons at the league average of the top-5 running backs in the league. It’s in the Chargers’ best interest to get a long-term deal done or trade Gordon now as opposed digging in and letting him go (after sitting out the season) and getting nothing in return. Gordon loses all leverage by playing the season and allowing himself to get franchised for two seasons. What team is going to give a long-term contract with a boatload of guaranteed money to a 28-year old running back?
So what do the Chargers do?
The Chargers have a lot of big contracts of core players coming up at the end of 2020 and not a lot of cap space to sign them all. Rivers, Gordon, tight end Hunter Henry, linebacker Jatavis Brown, cornerback Trevor Williams, safety Adrian Phillips and center Mike Pouncey headline the players who will be looking to cash in on their on-field success. By the way, franchise defensive end Joey Bosa will be looking for big bucks at the end of the 2021 season. Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco has some big decisions to make and Gordon is forcing his name to the top of the list.
Without Gordon, the running back depth chart will be Austin Ekeler, second-year pro Justin Jackson, Detrez Newsome and Troymaine Pope. Ekeler has proven his versatility and ability to make plays in space but the group behind him is unproven to say the least. Gordon, obviously is the element that takes this group from good to great. As seen by the recent signings of guys like Bell and Gurley plus the growing influx of backs that are as deadly catching the ball as they are running it; the devalued running back position is making a comeback. If Telesco makes a trade he is hamstrung because no team is going to make a fair offer knowing the position he is in. At best he may be able to acquire a package of draft picks. A first round pick isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
The Oakland Raiders received a first-round pick from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for wide receiver Amari Cooper. Weeks earlier, they had received two first-round picks, a sixth-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick plus a conditional fifth-round selection for Khalil Mack. Cooper was coming off a down 2017 season and found himself lost in the wide receiver shuffle until newly-hired Raiders coach Jon Gruden shipped him out of town. Mack has established himself as a top-5 if not the best pass rusher in the league before Gruden sent him away. Gordon is closer to the Mack end of the spectrum than the Cooper end. The problem is draft picks are always a crapshoot. A package of picks including a first-rounder or two is all well and good, but it does not result in equal value and it does nothing for the loss of production for a team that is among the favorites to appear in the Super Bowl.
The other side of the coin is to sign Gordon and judging from the deals mentioned above, the terms are going to be in the neighborhood of a three- to f0ur-year deal worth $13- to 16-million dollars per year with two-thirds of that money guaranteed. Can the Chargers afford it? According to Sportrac, Over-The-Cap, ESPN Stats and Info and other sources, the Bolts have just under $11 million dollars in cap space. Still, cap space backdoors are known and utilized by ever GM in the league. Keeping Gordon keeps the Chargers consistent and on course for that long-awaited Super Bowl return. Keeping Gordon keeps the Chargers in place as the biggest threats to Kansas City, who will be heralded as the heir apparent to the Patriots’ franchise based on the trajectory of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is coming into this, his third season, on the heels of winning the NFL MVP award after his first season as the Chiefs starting QB.
As a fan and as a man who was there at the NFL Draft when Gordon was drafted, I want him to stay a Charger for life. I’ve met the man, had a conversation with him and shook his hand on the very first day he was tapped to be a Charger. He’s a solid guy, very kind, very active in the community and has a sparkling reputation as a teammate. That being said, I believe Gordon will be traded. I cannot blame the Chargers front office as much as I’d like to do so. The system is flawed with the way teams can get away with so many years of control before a player can cash in on a long-term deal. I can’t blame Gordon for holding out as much as I can’t blame the Chargers brass for wanting to hold onto control for as long as they can before backing the Brinks truck up to his door. Players are now getting wise to the fact that this is the road to hoe if they’re going to avoid overuse and get paid before getting stuck on a series of one-year contracts.
Whatever they decide, they don’t have long to do it. Gordon and Smith have established the beginning of training camp, July 24, as their hard line date to get a new contract done. If they don’t get a deal, they want the Chargers to start looking for trade partners. There’s no reason at this point to believe they won’t follow through on their threat since no new news has come through the pipeline since this story broke. I believe the Chargers will shop Gordon and take the best offer they can get. Having a disgruntled player in the fold will be a huge distraction to the team, the fan base and the bottom line knowing he is at home while the team is fighting for a playoff spot. If Gordon is gone everyone has no choice but to accept it and move on. The Chargers should be able to get a Khalil Mack-esque deal. It won’t be as good but comparable in the sense that it will be multiple picks and at least one first-round pick. Brace yourselves Chargers fans. It won’t be pretty but we know, now more than ever, how much of a business the NFL has become. May the football Gods have mercy on our souls….
The Greg One
The best piece of advice I can give a sports fan is this: cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.
No matter how wonderful a player is on or off the field, someday either the team or the player will make the difficult decision to go a different direction. The team remains, but the players go through the never ending revolving doors known as free agency and retirement. Remember the aforementioned advise when you look at the following list of fan favorites and impact players who are on the last year of their contracts with the Chargers. Here is the list of the players who may leave at seasons end. The departure of some will leave a hole in the team. The departure of others will leave a hole in fans hearts. So as I crank up The Clash in the background, let’s take a look at who should stay and who should go, as well as what they are making for the 2016 season.
Melvin Ingram (OLB) $7.751 million: Staying: Although Ingram has had to deal with injuries and has under achieved in a statistical way, the future of Ingram seems bright. The addition of Joey Bosa has made this pair of pass-rushers quite a handful for offensive lines. The sack totals are not as impressive as their AFC West rivals, but the fact that the Chargers lead the league in interceptions is a sure sign that these guys are putting pressure on quarterbacks and forcing errant throws. For a defensive front seven to be effective in today’s NFL, there must be two dominant pass rushers and a strong Nose Tackle. Ingram, Bosa and Mebane fit the bill for now. Ingram will be pursued by other teams, but expect the Chargers to overpay a little to keep their former first round draft pick around for the next three to four years.
Danny Woodhead (RB) $5.5 million: Going: I want to be clear about something here. Danny Woodhead is a wonderful player who can be a spark-plug for an offense, and a true leader. But along with his greatness is a serious problem. Since joining the Chargers, Woodhead has only played in 37 of the 64 games he was eligible to participate in. He has had two full seasons and two cut seriously short by injury, including the 2016 campaign. Not only does Woodhead have a hard time staying healthy, he is 31 years old. Not many running backs maintain their effectiveness for long after age 30. I’m sorry to say, the Chargers will move on from Woodhead. He will either sign somewhere as a free agent for the 2017 season, or hang up the cleats. Of course, there is the possibility that the Chargers would try to sign him at a discounted price on the chance that he will stay healthy. Unfortunately, he will most likely find a better offer somewhere else.
Mantai Te’o (MLB) $5.172 million: Going: Te’o is another player who has been plagued by injuries during his time in San Diego. By seasons end, he will have played in just 38 of a possible 64 games, over his four season tenure with the Bolts. He has been improving every year, and the improvement of the defensive line has helped him scrape down the line and get to ball carriers. But, it hasn’t helped his foot-speed, or ability to cover backs in the flat. Look for opposing quarterbacks to pick on Te’o on third and long. The fact is, Te’o will go down in Chargers history as a borderline bust. Nice enough guy, just not a great football player.
Jahleel Addae (SS) $2.553 million: Going: Chargers fans seem to have a great deal of respect and admiration for SS Jahleel Addae. Why? Because he is a hitter! Fans love players who come in and lay some hat on opposing teams. Addae certainly does just that. He has been a Charger for four years and has quite the reputation for having no fear. The problem is that all those hits have really taken a toll on Addae’s body. In fact, he has had several injuries, including concussions. Having only played 43 of his possible 54 games so far as a Charger, there must be concern that he will spend more and more time on the injured list. He is fairly inexpensive, but you do not want to pay anyone to ride out injuries. I believe that if Addae fails to get through the remaining five games of the 2016 schedule without incident, the Chargers will have no choice but to let him go.
Branden Oliver (RB) $1.53 million: Staying: Normally I would have said that a player who really hasn’t done very much, and has missed an entire season to injury, would not be returning. In Oliver’s case, I think the Chargers may take one more chance. He is the epitome of a fan favorite. Bolt fans just love watching Oliver run/return the ball and bang into those large defenders. Yes, Oliver plays larger than his 5’8″, 208 lb frame. He is such a fan favorite, some fans wanted Melvin Gordon either cut, or dropped to second string, so that Oliver could get his chance. The fact of the matter is that despite a few impressive games, Oliver does not have the stats to explain the love he receives. That being said, the Bolts may just bring him back because he will be cheap and the fans love him.
Korey Toomer (OLB) $600,000: Staying: It could be a little premature to add Toomer to this list, but he has been an impact player since joining the team in week four. With his playing time increasing, Toomer has racked up 33 tackles in the last three weeks! He is an aggressive player who likes to hit. The Seahawks and the Raiders are going to regret letting this guy go. Look for Toomer to get another two the three years added to his already very affordable contract.
Dontrelle Inman (WR) $600,000: Staying: Without a whole lot of playing time, Inman has managed to have some big games. He is a sure-handed receiver that was plucked from the Canadian Football League to fill in for injured receivers. Although much of the success of the young Chargers receivers can be credited to Philip Rivers, there is no denying that Inman has the ability to get open and catch the ball. He just may be part of a talented youth movement at wide receiver in San Diego.
There are many more players to make decisions on at the end of this season. Very few are notable. None are tremendous impact players or former high draft picks. Even though these names seem less important, some of them will return because they are affordable and they add much needed depth. The following is a list of players who will most likely be brought back to fill various roles: Mike Windt (LS), Tenny Palepoi (NT), Sean McGrath (TE), Damion Square (NT), and Isaiah Burse (WR/KR), Kenny Wiggens (G).
Finally, the list of potential free agents who are either doomed to be shown the door, or will fight hard and get back on the team: Sean Lissemore (NT), Tourek Williams (OLB), Trevor Williams (CB), Asante Cleveland (TE), Adrian Phillips (FS), Kellen Clemens (QB), Javontee Herndon (WR), Codero Law (OLB), Jeff Cumberland (TE), Dexter McCluster (RB/KR), Ronnie Hillman (RB), Jeremy Butler (WR), Geremy Davis (WR), Tyreek Burwell (T), Chris Landrum (OLB). Some of these guys have a real shot at making the team next year, they just will not be high priorities for Chargers GM Tom Telesco.
So, what do you think? Which of these guys will be sporting lightning bolts next season? Leave your comments below.
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions to Sunday’s upcoming match-up versus the Falcons.
Zak Darman: This should be a high-scoring game. Both teams have good offenses. The Chargers have a better defense but they don’t really have anyone who can stop Julio Jones. Benjamin isn’t a lock to play, and without him their receivers are Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Griff Whalen (yes, I had to go to the team’s depth chart to even put him down). Hunter Henry gets another touchdown and Rivers goes for 300+ yards but comes up just short. Although teams lose about 70% of the time the week after playing the Seahawks…. Falcons 35-31.
Chris LaFurno: Late Julio game-winning touchdown and Chargers offense can’t answer back as Atlanta wins a nail biter. Falcons 37 Chargers 34.
Michael Brazeel: Rivers will have to go length of field in :40 with no timeouts, as usual, and come up short. Falcons 35-31.
Corey Decker: The Falcons are coming in with a chip on their shoulder so expect them to come out firing. Falcons 34-28.
Travis Blake: I’ve been feeling all week that the Bolts will start slow and sluggish in this one. That’s probably coming from the fact it’s a mini-bye week for the team, and a later than usual start for an east coast game (game time is 1:05 PM PST). The question is can they overcome a slow start and finish out a game strong, instead of leaving us all with that familiar feeling of they screwed something up, or almost did? I believe this defense will continue to build off its improvement in the Bronco game and stop the run. The Bolts will get the running game going and pull off several long drives that quiet the crowd. Bolts win their first road game of the year. Chargers 31-24.
Laura Leech: High scoring game with two explosive offenses. Chargers defense is not facing a sub-par OL like they did against Denver. That extra rest from a Thursday game should help a little, but flying to the East Coast is never easy for any team. It will come down to which defense can cause the most turnovers. Unfortunately, though, Falcons get this one. 38-34 Falcons.
Brian Scott: The defense for the Bolts is playing at a high level and with confidence. Ryan gets sacked multiple times. Air show begins and ends with Rivers throwing his 4th touchdown pass. Gordon scores and gets 80 yards. Chargers finally win back to back games since 2014. 41-31 Bolts.
Chris Hoke: The Falcons start the game driving down the field on their first possession and scoring on a TD to Julio Jones. The bolts respond with a long drive in which we are forced to settle for a Lambo field goal. This is repeated till the second half in Which its 14-6. Chargers come out in the second half and MG breaks away for a huge TD run. It’s wire to wire from this point where the bolts go for it on 4th down. MG gets stuffed and the rest is history. The Falcons hang on 35-29.
Cheryl White: Been thinking all week that this is going to be a tough one, too. Aforementioned trip to East Coast and later start time may be detrimental. I would point out that this team did go to Baltimore and was the first west coast team to win there, although that was 2014. Downside, no Slayer/Woodhead/Verrett this time. We do have Gordon who is running better plus Henry; and lets not forget Bosa. If he can’t get to Ryan maybe he pressures him enough that someone else can. Hayward and Phillips in the secondary though versus those WRs are challenging. Atlanta’s OL is tough and their HC knows a thing or 2 about defense. There better be a damn good game plan in place. Don’t for the love of God go prevent defense or stop running Gordon. Have some guts and get after it because Atlanta WILL capitalize if you allow them to. 38-35 Bolts.
Mike Pisciotta: Chargers will again open an early lead and go conservative. McCoy, Whiz and Pagano love to sit on leads, and they will piss away another one. 37-31 Atlanta in overtime.
Will McCafferty: Honestly, I’m far from confident this week. I felt better about he Denver game. This reminds me of the New Orleans game with a higher power offense. It should be a shootout as both teams can move the ball. Hopefully, the Chargers can get the ball in the end zone and not settle for field goals. Atlanta should be able to score as well. Chargers 38 Falcons 34
Dave Peters: The Chargers actually play a game well from start to finish in this one. This is one of those games where no one, for the most part, expects them to win. The Chargers’ offense outpaces Atlanta, as Hunter Henry scores for the fourth consecutive game and Philip Rivers throws for over 300 yards and three scores. Bosa gets his third and fourth sacks, respectively, while Denzel Perryman recovers a fumble and takes it to the house. Bolts 41 Falcons 27.
We have seen it fairly often, Jahleel Addae streaking towards his man. We’ve seen that result end up with Addae being out because he concussed himself making the hit.
Sunday, we all watched as Addae ran towards Jacksonville’s Denard Robinson late in the game and tackled him. I know many people thought Addae had used his helmet to hit Robinson; especially as both Robinson and “Hitman” remained on the ground after the two players collided. I did see that it was his shoulder Addae had employed to initiate the contact and just knew as he was helped to his feet that HE wasn’t going to come back any time soon.
Lo and behold, word came that the Chargers’ starting safety had broken his collarbone. Anticipation is that he will be out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery today to fix the injury.
So who steps in to fill the void left by his absence?
The team will most likely look to rookie Dexter McCoil and Adrian Phillips to pick up the reps during practice. The team heads to a meet-up against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, so naming a starter quickly is paramount.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, McCoil may get the call. As part of the Edmonton Eskimos from 2014-2015, McCoil was named Most Outstanding Rookie (2014) after amassing 67 tackles, four sacks and six interceptions, of which three were returned for touchdowns.
McCoil signed with the Chargers in January and quickly proved throughout OTAs and minicamp that he was more than capable of playing at the NFL level. In the first two weeks of the 2016 regular season, he has already made four tackles, adding a defended pass.
He may be considered a rookie but I anticipate that his experience and size give him the nod to fill in until Addae returns to the lineup.
The next option is Adrian Phillips, who has been with the Bolts since 2014, albeit primarily on the practice squad. At 5-foot-10, Phillips is similar in size to Addae though a bit heavier (210 to 195). The former Texas Longhorn has participated in 12 games (two starts) and collected 12 tackles, an interception and defended one pass.
Will Phillips’ endeavors get him the starting job? We’ll know sooner rather than later.
The defense played pretty darn well Sunday afternoon. The secondary looked great. I’m hoping it is easier to plug the gap that Addae’s absence creates than in the past.
McCoy and Pagano will have a tough decision to make and I don’t envy them.
We’ll all be watching and waiting for the announcement.
Thanks for reading!
Finally! The Chargers begin the 2016 regular season today on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Per a report from Marty Caswell of The Mighty 1090 via Twitter, the team has announced its inactives for the game.
Chargers inactives- Max Tuerk, Kenny Wiggins, Tyreek Burwell, Adrian Phillips, Isaiah Burse, Ryan Carrethers, Andre Williams
— Marty Caswell (@MartyCaswell) September 11, 2016
On another note, B.J. Kissel, a Chiefs’ reporter, has reported that running back Jamaal Charles will be inactive for today’s game, too.
Sometimes the men who declare for the NFL draft watch seven rounds come and go without their names being called. Why their draft stock seemingly does not translate to a phone call could be for a myriad of reasons. Hold on, though. There is still a way that you can play in the NFL.
One of those ways is being signed as an undrafted rookie free agent (UDFA).
One such player is Tyrell Williams.
Presently, the Chargers have six undrafted players on the roster at the wide receiver position. Three are second-year players while the other three are rookies. Each one is looking to show the coaches that they deserve to be on the team beyond next month’s minicamp.
Williams is a second-year receiver out of Western Oregon University. He signed his UDFA tender in May of 2015 and was with the team until early September when he was waived. The team needed to replace safety Jahleel Addae with practice-squad player Adrian Phillips. Williams subsequently made it through waivers and was re-signed.
He stayed on the practice squad until November when he was promoted to the active roster and debuted in the December 20 home game against the Miami Dolphins. Williams didn’t garner a catch until the final season contest of 2015 when he zipped by Broncos’ cornerback Aqib Talib and scored an 80-yard touchdown. The performance in that final game has continued to whet his desire to be a part of the starting lineup rather than the practice squad.
At 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds, Williams is similar in build and size to both Keenan Allen (6-foot-2/211 lbs) and recently retired Bolts’ wideout Malcom Floyd (6-foot-5, 225 lbs). In training camp last year, Williams apparently reminded Rivers so much of M-80 that he nicknamed him “Little Malcom.” They are both long-armed and long-legged, and when they run it appears more like gliding because they are so fluid. Don’t underestimate his blocking ability, either, as Williams is good at that, too. He is unafraid to launch that big body to haul in a pass; a la Floyd.
Who would have thought that a guy who began his collegiate career at 160 pounds would eventually bulk up to 208 pounds and find himself on an NFL team? The Wolves’ head coach, Arne Ferguson, and their director of football operations, Jason Slowey, extended a scholarship to Williams upon entering college. He worked hard to hone his craft and put weight on his frame. By the time he was entering his junior year, NFL teams were beginning to take notice, scouting him as a potential fit on their respective rosters.
It just goes to show what dedication, perseverance and hard work can provide you with; in this case, a chance to make your dreams come true.
With all the hype that has been put out there both last year and in the recent OTAs, the Chargers might have another competition brewing. Here’s hoping that young Williams makes the Bolts’ roster.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading!
The Chargers have signed wide receiver Tyrell Williams to the practice, according to Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Chargers have signed WR Tyrell Williams to practice squad, per source. He cleared waivers earlier today.
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 21, 2015
Williams was released from the team’s 53-man roster in order to promote safety Adrian Phillips to the 53-man roster due to the injury status of Jahleel Addae.
Now that he has cleared waivers, he can now join the club’s 10-man practice squad. The practice squad was only at nine players prior to signing Williams. There is no need for a corresponding move.
Williams, a fan and media favorite, made a strong enough impression this offseason as an undrafted free-agent rookie out of Western Oregon to initially make the team’s opening day, 53-man roster. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, the 23-year-old has great speed for his size, a wide catching radius and solid hands. Although his route running needs work, the team was wise to find a way to bring him back on the squad.
The Chargers entered Week 2 with only four wideouts on the game-day roster: Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman.
Uncharacteristically, high-profile San Diego Chargers have been making headlines during this offseason. It started in the front office with the ongoing stadium issue, Antonio Gates asking for reduced playing time and rolled into the Philip Rivers-for-Marcus Mariota trade chatter that consumed national and social media in the weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. Since the draft, defensive captain Eric Weddle has proclaimed he will not show up for offseason training activities until he is signed to a new contract.
Weddle is the undisputed leader of the defense and one of the best if not the top safety in the league. Safety play is going to be critical if the Chargers are going to make the postseason. Let’s take a look at who the Chargers currently have on the roster at the safety position.
Eric Weddle: One of the few safeties wearing the helmet mic to receive the defensive calls from the sideline, Weddle is the conductor of the Chargers defense. Now entering his ninth season in lightning bolts, Weddle hasn’t missed a game in five seasons and has only missed four games in his career. Unlike other seasoned vets, Weddle has gotten better with age. The 30-year old has compiled 97, 115 and 114 combined tackles in the last three seasons. Weddle has been elected to the Pro Bowl four times, three in the last four seasons. Once Weddle signs his new deal, he and his beard will be permanently inked into his starting safety spot for the rest of his Chargers days. It will happen.
Jahleel Addae: Another Chargers undrafted free agent success story, Addae is entering is third season with San Diego. After contributing significantly on special teams he was thrown into the mix on defense halfway through the 2013 season and continued his stellar play. Last season, Addae started at safety alongside Weddle in five games and played eleven games. He compiled 48 tackles (35 solo), one sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Although he missed five games, two to hamstring and three to concussion, he showed an aptitude for the position. Addae has great safety instincts and he can be expected to start significantly more games at safety this season as long as he can stay healthy.
Darrell Stuckey: Heading into his sixth season, Stuckey has established himself as the Bolts’ special teams captain. He has continually improved his production each season to the point where he was named special teams Player of the Year and was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season. Stuckey was also given extended playing time on defense at safety and proved his coaches right in doing so. The Chargers have an excellent three-man core at safety with Weddle, Addae and Stuckey consistently making plays.
Jimmy Wilson: An offseason free agency pickup by the Chargers, Wilson signed a two-year deal with the Bolts in March. A native San Diegan, Wilson was a seventh-round draft pick by Miami in the 2011 NFL Draft. He is expected to challenge Addae for the starting strong safety and nickel corner positions. Durable and versatile, Wilson has only missed four games in his four-year career and has compiled 153 tackles (133 solo), 16 passes defensed, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two sacks. Last season was the first time he started more than four games when he started in 13 of the Dolphins 14 games. As a result he had his best statistical year with 58 tackles, two passes defensed and one interception. Wilson provides another playmaker into the Chargers rebuilt secondary and will be exciting to follow as camp progresses.
Adrian Phillips: The undrafted free agent out of Texas spent last season on the Chargers practice squad. Phillips was team captain for the 2013 Longhorns and had 206 career tackles from the safety position. He did see action in the Miami Dolphins game, where he recorded one tackle.
UDFA’s Johnny Lowdermilk and Gordon Hill: If the name Lowdermilk sounds familiar, it’s because his father Kirk Lowdermilk had a 12-year career in the NFL with Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts as an offensive lineman. Iowa’s Lowdermilk is lauded for his physical play, nose for the football and coverage ability but lack of speed is a concern. Last season he totaled 103 tackles (58 solo), three tackles for loss, three interceptions, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He’s worth a look just from a hustle and bloodline standpoint.
Hill entered the NFL after leaving Sacred Heart after his junior season. An All-NEC (Northeast Conference) first team selection, he collected 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and two interceptions last season. It will be a long way up to make the main roster but he will get his opportunity to shine in camp.
The Chargers have one of the better collections of safeties in the NFL. Weddle deserves to be the highest paid safety in the league and likely will be soon. Addae and Stuckey fly to the football and are finally coming into their own with regular playing time on defense. There is definitely room for a fourth man in the rotation. Whether it comes from this lot or from an unexpected name arising when roster cuts are made remains to be seen.
The Greg One
A familiar name is now again with the San Diego Chargers. Ronnie Brown was signed today after recently being released by the Houston Texans. The running back situation has been in flux due to injuries to Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews. Woodhead is out for the year and Mathews should be returning in the next couple of weeks. ( Fingers crossed )
In comes Brown.
The team knows Brown and he knows most of the nuances of the offense. Ronnie is a former number two overall draft pick by the Miami Dolphins out of Auburn. He is not a burner but he is a reliable ball carrier that won’t turn it over.
The Charger backfield, for the time being, looks like this: Branden Oliver, Shaun Draughn and Ronnie Brown.
In a corresponding move the Chargers released the recently signed Kevin Reddick. He wasn’t with the team long but he became expendable as the running back spot needed an addition to its ranks.
As mentioned the other day, the team also signed center Trevor Robinson from Cincinnati’s practice squad. This move was made due to Doug Legursky being placed on reserve-injured. The center position has now lost both Nick Hardwick and Legursky for the year. Rich Ohrnberger has been battling back issues for almost a month. It appears that rookie Chris Watt will be manning the center position for the Oakland game.
DJ Adams was placed on practice squad-injured. San Diego brought back safety Adrian Phillips for the third time to fill the empty spot on the practice squad.
In what was expected to be a quiet day at Chargers Park, six roster moves were made. Tom Telesco is always looking for ways to improve his team. Supplementing for injuries has become an often occurrence for the second-year general manager. We can only hope that this rash of injuries will no longer continue.
Despite the litany of banged up players, the Chargers head to play the Raiders in week six on a 4-game winning streak. The team is riding high with a 4-1 record and a lot of momentum. Depending on the website, the Bolts are currently holding the first, third or fourth spot in national power rankings.
There are quite a few intriguing positional battles that are about to play out at Chargers Park. Training camp is right around the corner and general manager Tom Telesco has done a solid job adding depth at many different positions in all three phases of the game in San Diego.
We’ll be going over all of the camp battles as training camp approaches here on BoltBlitz.com. For the sake of this article, we’re going to take a look at the strong safety spot and look at how it could end up playing out.
When looking at the players that the Chargers currently have on the roster that are strong safeties, there’s quite a competition for the number one spot. Below are the individuals that will be battling for the starting spot and players that will be battling for playing time.
While in college at Clemson, Gilchrist played both safety and cornerback. In his first three seasons with the Bolts he has done the same thing. As a Charger, he has seen time at the outside corner position, nickel corner and strong safety. Although he has struggled at times, he did show a lot of improvement toward the end of the 2013 season.
When watching tape on Gilchrist he actually was in the right position to make more plays than his stats would indicate. He’s improved in the tackling department and seemed to settle into the strong safety role sufficiently by the end of the year. It would seem that he’ll go into 2014 as the favorite to begin the year as the starter. But that will be decided during training camp and the preseason.
As an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, Addae was not a lock to even make the roster as a first-year player. He came in and impressed enough that not only did he earn a roster spot, he saw a serious increase in playing time as the year played out. Even as a collegiate player he showed he has a penchant for hitting. The guy will knock you out. That’s also part of the problem as well. He tends to go for the killshot as opposed to making sure that the tackle is made properly.
Though he has a lot to learn as far as coverage ability, he did show improvement throughout the year as he saw more action on the field. You noticed that he was in the right place at the right time more often than earlier in the season with more in-game experience. Despite Gilchrist most likely being the leader to take the starting job, look for Addae to push him and, perhaps, even unseat him at some point during the upcoming season.
For those of you that I have been listening to BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9, hosted by yours truly, you already know a little bit about Darby. He seemed like a very impressive young man who has a good head on his shoulders. What stood out to me was that he kept reiterating that he was always willing to work hard and he would never settle for giving anything but his best effort in all that he does.
Alden is a former defensive back at Arizona State and he proved to be a playmaker while playing for the Sun Devils. Last year he managed to tally 72 total tackles, 4 interceptions ( one of which he took to the house for six ) and two forced fumbles. Darby’s impact on the game did not go unnoticed as he earned the honorary Pat Tillman practice jersey with the team. When speaking to him live on air, he absolutely did not take this honor for granted.
Similar to Addae, Alden is coming in as an undrafted free agent. But you can never have too many playmakers in the secondary. I firmly believe that he will make the 53-man roster, and, in due time, become a player that the defense can count on when he’s on the field. He can contribute immediately on special teams. He’s willing to do whatever the team asks of him. Look out for Alden Darby.
Phillips has his work cut out for him seeing as both Gilchrist and Addae are locks for the team, and the playmaking skills of Darby make him too hard to pass up on. But he also made his fair share of plays in college while playing for the Texas Longhorns. In 50 career games, 28 of which he started, Phillips finished with 206 career total tackles, 6 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
As a senior against West Virginia he ended up with a career-high in tackles with 11. During that same season he snagged two of his six career picks. Again, it will be very difficult for Phillips to find a spot on an already crowded Charger roster. But, if he does enough to impress the Charger coaching staff, maybe he can land a spot on the San Diego practice squad.
So there you have it. This is where you come in. Let me know what you think about the camp battle at strong safety by leaving your comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.